Newborn Prep Guide
To help your newborn session run smoothly please follow these steps the best you can. I know each person's life may not allow for each step completely but if you follow this as close as you can, it will help to ensure a great session!
First and foremost, it is important to me for your baby to look comfortable and peaceful in the photographs and for each image to be a piece of art. As a mother and registered nurse, my motto is safety first. I will never put your newborn in an unsafe situation. I have four children of my own and have photographed many newborns. Since 2012, I've been working with breastfeeding mothers and babies as a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor and Certified Breastfeeding Specialist (see the Lactation Services tab in the far right corner). I am always up to date with new safety guidelines.
Be prepared to spend between 2 and 4 hours at my studio. I am a perfectionist and I want to capture your baby in every way I can. I spend a lot of time getting every little finger and toe positioned perfectly when photographing your little bundle. It’s not unusual to spend up to 20 minutes working to perfect one pose. Just to warn you: When being photographed with your baby, you may get peed or pooped on! This usually happens on me but some parents are surprised by and unprepared. Please don't worry or feel embarrassed!
1. Interact with and keep baby awake for at least 1 hour before you leave for your session to ensure your baby is nice and sleepy for the session. This step is very important! Stimulating baby with a bath or by doing ‘naked time’ prior to the session are some tricks that you can use.
2. If nursing, please try to avoid large amounts of caffeine or anything that you think your baby might not be tolerating well in your diet (such as dairy).
3. Please make sure your little one has a full belly for the session. Please feed baby just before you leave for the session. Feeding baby once you arrive will usually wake baby up during the feeding and have trouble falling back into a deep, restful sleep. If baby is bottle feeding, please bring extra bottles and milk (formula or breastmilk). Babies work up quite the appetite being posed and moved around. Also, baby should be fed as much as possible the day of the session. This will allow for baby to sleep as deeply and as long as possible. We need a very sleepy and calm baby in order to achieve the images you are looking for. A full baby equals a sleepy baby. The only way we will achieve calm, flexible poses is if baby is fully satisfied and sleeping. During this session it may be beneficial to remain open to the idea of feeding on demand instead of timed feedings (if you are not already doing so). I would rather have you give baby an extra feeding than have you worry that baby isn’t sleeping and we’re missing out on some beautiful poses.
4. Dress baby in loose fitting clothes to avoid any lines on baby’s skin and to also avoid disturbing baby when getting undressed. A simple sleeper is best. Please avoid onesies or anything that has to be pulled off over baby’s head. Your newborn will be photographed in his/her birthday suit for some or all of the session but I will pay careful attention to ensure baby bits are not exposed in any photos.
5. Bring a pacifier (if you have one)– they can be very helpful during the session. Even if we only use it for the session, it is a huge help and it will be used so little that it will not interrupt breastfeeding. I have sterile pacifiers available at my studio to use even if this is only a one time thing. I have not known of any baby to experience nipple confusion just after a few uses during a session.
6. The studio will be kept at about 80 degrees F to keep your little one warm while being photographed. I recommend dressing in layers.
7. When you arrive, please leave baby in the car seat when bringing him/her in. I will remove baby very slowly in the warm studio to avoid disturbing him/her as much as possible.
8. During the session, sit back and relax. I won’t need much assistance, so take advantage of this time to rest. (I’m sure you need it!) Parents will often watch a movie, answer emails or read while I work with their new little one. I’ve even had some parents take a nap!
9. This is a full service studio, meaning that I will be changing baby’s diapers, cleaning up any messes, and feeding baby (if bottle fed) when required during the session. If you are exclusively breast feeding then I will ask you to feed baby when he/she shows feeding cues (asking that you remain open to feeding on demand at the studio if you aren't already doing so).
10. Remove all bandages from baby’s skin at least one hour before arriving to the studio. These bandages cannot be removed in post processing and, if left on, will show up in the final images.
PARENT PORTRAITS: I encourage parent portraits with the new baby, and these are usually done at the very beginning. A white/cream short sleeve shirt is suggested for dads and a white/cream tank or blouse top is suggested for moms. For more artistic shots, dads may choose to remove their shirts for some skin-to-skin images. These can make for some very tender images. Moms, I strongly encourage you to have a portrait taken with your new baby while they are still so tiny and fresh. I will photograph you in flattering angles, so don’t worry!
SIBLING PORTRAITS: If you have older siblings that you would like to be photographed with your newborn, we will capture these portraits FIRST. Cream, ivory or white (without patterns or logos) is recommended for older siblings and of course pretty dresses for little girls. They’ll be barefoot on a soft rug so no need for fancy shoes. We ask that your spouse/partner take the older siblings home or out for something fun to do while we finish up with newborn pictures.
PROPS and ‘Pinterest Requests’: I supply all of the backdrops, furniture, hats, headbands and wraps for the session. I am always open to new ideas but be aware that I will not use anything that will harm, irritate or look awkward on your newborn. If you see something you like in any of my galleries, be sure to mention it before your session. I am open to suggestions on poses that you may have seen from Pinterest but please understand that every pose we do depends on how well baby cooperates and how safe the pose is for your little one. I cannot guarantee any pose for this reason.
Remember these are only recommendations, so please don't worry if things don't go as planned! Please contact me if you have any questions about this preparation guide.